Manifold Times | VPS experts advise on low viscosity VLSFOs; pinpoints emerging flashpoint issues to aviation fuels

Experts from worldwide gasoline testing and inspection firm VPS, backed by expertise gained over a 12 months since IMO 2020, engaged the viewers throughout the Fuel Management Challenges – The Year of 2021 & Beyond webinar on Thursday (23 September).

Captain Rahul Choudhuri, Managing Director AMEA, moderated the webinar with supporting panellists Md Harun Rashid, Technical Manager, and George Stanley, Group Technical & Science Manager, providing attendees insights into the most recent marine gasoline high quality traits.

Members of the viewers have been eager to search VPS’ technical perspective on marine engine operations with low viscosity Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oils (VLSFOs), amongst different matters, throughout the Q&A session.

Technical recommendation on low viscosity VLSFOs

“It is quite common for bunker suppliers to ship low viscosity VLSFOs ranging between 10 to 15 cSt when putting an order for 380 cSt VLSFO,” notes Rashid.

“The bunker purchaser can at all times provoke a problem to the provider over viscosity; nonetheless, technically there isn’t any challenge. In basic, we see many circumstances the place engines have operated on low viscosity VLSFOs with none critical issues.”

He defined marine engines are in a position to use gasoil which has a viscosity of between 2 to 6 cSt; therefore, if an engine can devour gasoil, it ought to technically find a way to use VLSFO as a bunker gasoline.

“Engine producers usually advocate a viscosity of not lower than 2 cSt; so it’s possible you’ll not even want to use additional heating for low viscosity VLSFOs which could even prevent vitality,” he provides.

Consumption of contaminated bunker fuels

A delegate, in the meantime, enquired in regards to the presence of chemical substances inside VLSFOs and if such international materials may nonetheless be consumed when current inside the bunker stem.

Taking reference from the Houston bunker contamination disaster throughout late-2018, Rashid replied the difficulty of chemical contamination inside marine fuels couldn’t be single-handedly resolved.

“The scenario on the bottom is we are able to record out greater than 100 parts which shouldn’t be in marine fuels and this dialogue has been taken to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) committee; nonetheless, we discover that the main target will not be there anymore,” he mentioned.

“To date, I don’t suppose there’s a scenario the place bunkers might be purchased with out chemical substances current. The query is how a lot would you like to run? If it’s simply minor [chemical] content material we don’t suppose there’s any challenge.”

Additional perception provided by VPS OCM providers

Attention to VPS’ Oil Condition Monitoring (OCM) enterprise took centre stage when Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times poised a query of how the service may very well be used to work in hand with VPS’ gasoline testing operations.

According to George, a scrape down evaluation paired with knowledge from VPS’ gasoline testing service presents shipowners further insights of engine operations.

“Instructions on using engine oils has modified because the introduction of VLSFOs and OCM providers will probably be in a position to inform how cylinder lubricants react to completely different VLSFOs,” he says.

“Cylinder lubricants endure a big change in properties when involved with VLSFOs and we see many scuffing issues originating from this occasion.

“So although a selected VLSFO could also be protected to devour, it may imply a distinct story when paired with an incompatible engine oil. From this side, our OCM service presents shipowners a peace of thoughts by providing the whole image on what’s going down contained in the engine.”

George later recognized the emergence of vessel corrosion issues with the current uptake of biofuels however hesitated to label the occasion as a pattern due to the event being within the “early stage”.

“But an ICP spectrographic evaluation take a look at underneath VPS’ OCM providers is ready to inform if the corrosion is both gasoline or upkeep associated,” he hints.

Origin of marine gasoline flashpoint issues

The Q&A session concluded with experts agreeing current marine gasoline flashpoint issues at Singapore, Malaysia and its surrounding areas to be stemming from avails within the aviation and automotive sectors.

“Flashpoint issues from VLSFOs and distillates undoubtedly come from mixing not being managed, with the ultimate unchecked merchandise merely being delivered to vessels,” states Rashid, who exclaims VPS has even recorded flashpoint at environment temperature from off-spec bunkers.

He additional harassed on the necessity for flashpoint testing of marine fuel oil (MGO).

“Many shoppers skip testing MGO for flashpoint however it will be important to be aware injury from MGO is commonly extra harmful and way more damaging,” he informs.

Moving ahead, Rashid identified present flashpoint issues plaguing the marine fuels sector to be coming from using aviation fuels in bunker blends.

“Jet gasoline has a really low flashpoint [of a minimum 38°C] with very low sulphur content material [averaging 0.05%] and it is not uncommon for blenders to use it as a cutter inventory to scale back the sulphur degree of marine fuels,” he explains.

“Due to Covid-19, there’s not a variety of jet gasoline being consumed and this has led the fabric to circulation into the maritime sector.”

George, who was additionally chargeable for issuing VPS’ flashpoint alerts, agreed and added the price of jet gasoline has decreased due to the shortage to demand – making the fabric much more engaging to blenders.

“Quality sensible, these [aviation] fuels are good and there are additionally indications marine fuels are additionally being blended with automotive fuels [which as a flashpoint of a -40°C],” he states.

“Of course, this downside is mixing associated and we can’t see one other different causes for the change in flashpoint properties.”


Photo credit score: VPS
Published: 24 September, 2021

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